NORFOLK, Va. — Gov. Glenn Youngkin is calling on the Virginia General Assembly to provide emergency funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
The governor wants to use the money to help advance security at HBCUs, following a series of bomb threats at Hampton University (HU) and Norfolk State University (NSU).
HU received a bomb threat on February 23. Just two days later, so did NSU and Elizabeth City State University.
Police found no immediate threat to the schools after sending out alerts to campus and investigating. In each case, after a few hours, students and staff returned to the campuses.
Dr. William Harvey, the president of Hampton University, said Youngkin called him and other HBCU leaders to discuss what they would want to change if they were to receive funding through the state.
"I'm just pleased that the Governor thinks well of what we had proposed to him," Harvey said.
Officials with the FBI said the agency is investigating threats to nearly 60 minority institutions across the nation as racially or ethnically-motivated hate crimes, including threats towards local HBCU campuses.
Harvey made a point, saying it didn't matter where the threat was made or how, they were still critical to curb.
"It doesn't matter what month it is," he said. "It could be Black History Month or July. You're talking about a threat, whether that's a threat to an individual or a threat to an entity."
Harvey said if the General Assembly approves the use of emergency funding, he would like to increase police surveillance and upgrade technology to fight any cyber threats on campus.
"To upgrade our cybersecurity would include such things as support funding for fiber infrastructure upgrades, we could take out some old wirings in our system that we have, and the third thing is to have computers across our campus," Harvey said. "The fact is, what we ask for, we will see if the General Assembly would give it to us."
The governor is waiting on the General Assembly's decision. If it approves the emergency funding, that's when Youngkin will have another discussion with HBCU leaders to determine how much they would need.